January 31, 2023
by Victoria Watkins
When I made a test sample for the 510 Passionflower Top, I quickly noticed that I would qualify for a small bust adjustment. At first I was worried that the process of fit adjustment would be too difficult, but I was able to get a nice fit with the help of Molly's guide to adjusting this top. Today I'll talk a little bit about the process of fitting the bodice to my own measurements and body.
First, Molly discussed how to find out your cup size. A difference of 1" between high bust and full bust counts as an A cup. Upon measuring, I found that my own chest was actually closer to a half inch of difference. (I wonder how you'd refer to that? A-minus cup?) However, just as a starting point, I decided to use the math and proportions for a regular A cup like described in the original guide. If it was too wide, I could bring it in later. However, I found that the ease was alright for this pattern, since it's more of a flowy, comfortable piece. For this reason, I didn't increase the width of the darts any more than outlined in the original post.
The placement, height, and direction of the bust apex is a huge factor on how this pattern will fit. In the pattern, apex is assumed to be about 1.5" above the center dart point. However, every body is different. You may need to adjust the apex point on the tissue to be where your bust fits. This may be .5" to 1.5" from the dart point.
After making the first muslin and trying it out, I noticed a few issues that needed to be corrected. It seemed like there was some slack at the center front seam of the bodice, and the cups looked very pointy and didn't conform to my body as I'd have liked it to. I consulted with Molly, and she let me know that I should shorten the darts to give myself at least a half inch of room from the dart point to the apex.
So, that's what I did with the second muslin. I kept the width of the darts the same at the bottom and drew a new point, tapering the new dart legs to that spot for each one. You can see the original darts (blue) and the new ones (purple) in the photo below. This fit was closer, but it soon became apparent that I'd have to squish my chest together unnaturally to get the cups to fit. I needed to move the darts toward the side seams a little bit in order to accommodate my wider bust points (i.e. they are not as close to each other as the pattern tissue would have them).
In order to determine how much to move the darts, I marked where my actual apex sits, directly onto the muslin. Since the centermost dart should sit directly under the apex, I was able to measure the distance between the two and move the darts in that direction. To move the darts, I simply cut into the most recent muslin, moved the cut piece to the left the appropriate amount, and taped it down.
When tracing a new piece out of the cut one, I made sure to smooth out areas of the pattern to maintain the hemline. Once I tried out this fit, I was pleased enough with the results to call it a day!
When you do this process for yourself, the measurements and proportions may be entirely different to what I've described here, or what the Small Bust Adjustment post by Molly outlines. Every body is different, so do your best to make an educated guess on how to start, then refine from the initial attempts. The custom-fitted clothing will be worth the efforts in the end!